Keith Curle on Gillhespey, Gilliead, Hope and squad size
Manager Keith Curle confirmed this week that he has lodged an interest with Newcastle United in former-loan pair Macaulay Gillhespey and Alex Gilliead as he continues to reshape his squad ahead of the new season.
Gillesphey scored twice in his 27 appearances and Gilliead notched five from his 41 run-outs as they helped United to a tenth spot finish and the Carlisle boss has made no secret of the fact he would like both players to come back again this time round.
“We’ve had communications with Newcastle and I think the initial feeling is that the next step for Alex Gilliead’s progression will be at a higher level,” he said. “We also posted an interest about Macaulay Gillesphey but, at the moment, he wants to see if he can be involved with their squad in the Championship.
“If he’s told he isn’t going to figure at this stage then we would need to look again to see if there is still room for him to come over here.”
Bury striker Hallam Hope, who scored five in his 25 appearances for United during his loan spell last season, is also a possible target having impressed during his time with the Blues.
“We’ve spoken to Hallam’s representative and to Bury,” Curle confirmed. “The message coming from them is that the manager down there has given everyone a clean slate.
“It’s an opportunity for them to all to impress and get into their squad. I know Hallam enjoyed his time here and we’ve let him know that we’re still interested if things don’t quite go his way.”
Looking ahead to working within the confines of the new loan system, he said: “The minimum number I would look to go into the season with would be 22 players.
"If we got that it would still leave me with a little bit of room for movement because you always work on 20 to 25% of your squad being unavailable at any one time.
“With the new loan system coming into place we need to make sure we aren’t falling short. Likewise, we don’t want to be too top heavy because we don’t want to be starting the season how we ended it, with 26 or 27 professionals. That was us trying to safeguard ourselves when there was a chance of us being able to do something last chance.
“I’ll be happy if I can get 22 and I wouldn’t be disappointed if I got 24, as long as they are the right calibre and adding the right skill sets to the squad.
"Gone are the days where it is what’s left who comes to Carlisle. Players want to come here because they know they will be rewarded if they help this club to push forward."
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